Novo Nordisk and Pfizer Inc. reported data from two separate weight-loss pills that showed they were as effective as Novo's injectable drug Wegovy, intensifying a race to grab a chunk of the market
The enormous demand for weight-loss treatments like Wegovy could support as many as 10 competing products with annual sales reaching up to $100 billion within a decade, mostly in the United States, industry executives and analysts said.
Following is a list of companies targeting the next big blockbuster opportunity:
Novo Nordisk said Monday data from a late-stage trial showed an oral version of its drug semaglutide helped overweight or obese adults lose weight comparable to what is seen with injected Wegovy, which has the same active ingredient.
Novo Nordisk's weekly injection Wegovy, known as Ozempic when used for diabetes, was approved in 2021. It works by mimicking a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) that triggers the feeling of fullness in the body after eating.
The company also had an older product Saxenda, approved in 2014, but Wegovy is considered safer and more effective.
Novo said last week it would have to halve the supply of starter doses of Wegovy in the U.S. to cope with high demand.
Pfizer Inc's diabetes drug danuglipron on Monday showed results in weight loss similar to that of Novo's semaglutide.
Treatment with a 120-milligram dose of danuglipron resulted in average weight loss of about 4.6 kilograms, or about 10 pounds, after 16 weeks according to data from a mid-stage study published in a medical journal.
Pfizer Inc. and Japanese partner Sosei Heptares' experimental oral GLP-1 drug, PF-07081532, is being tested in a mid-stage trial to treat type 2 diabetes and obesity.
The company said it plans to enroll some patients in its late-stage trial who have already used Wegovy or Mounjaro to show they can effectively switch to Pfizer's oral alternative.
Eli Lilly said last month its diabetes treatment Mounjaro helped people with type 2 diabetes who were also obese or overweight to lose nearly 16% of their body weight in a large trial.
The drug, also known as tirzepatide, is expected to receive a U.S. approval for weight loss later this year.
Tirzepatide activates the body's receptors for gastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP) and GLP-1, which are natural hormones and found in areas of the brain important for appetite regulation.
Amgen Inc.'s experimental obesity drug, AMG133, showed promising durability trends in an early-stage trial late last year.
The drug candidate showed mean weight loss of 14.5% after 12 weeks of treatment at the highest monthly dose. It has a dual mechanism which targets GLP-1 and GIP.
The company said it plans a larger mid-stage study this year.
Altimmune Inc. in March said its experimental obesity drug, pemvidutide, helped reduce weight by over 10% on average in a mid-stage trial.
However, the drug candidate also showed safety concerns with patients experiencing nausea and vomiting of mild and moderate severity.
Pemvidutide is a dual action drug that targets GLP-1 and also imitates another gut hormone called glucagon, which helps burn more fat when exercising and prevents the harmful build-up of fat in the liver.
Viking Therapeutics Inc's experimental obesity drug, VK2735, showed up to 6% reduction in mean weight in an early-stage study.
The company plans to test higher doses of the drug over a longer treatment window in a mid-stage trial and expects results from an early-stage extension study to evaluate oral doses by the middle of the year.
VK2735 is also a dual action drug that targets both GLP-1 and GIP receptors.
Denmark's Zealand Pharma and Boehringer Ingelheim's experimental obesity treatment achieved up to 14.9% weight loss in a mid-stage trial on Wednesday.
The drug candidate, BI 456906, also targets GLP-1 and GIP receptors.
Opko Health has completed a mid-stage trial of its obesity drug, pegapamodutide, that it expects will have fewer side effects. The current GLP-1 drugs can cause nausea and vomiting. China's LeaderMed has agreed to develop and sell Opko's compound in the country. The company is also in talks with larger drugmakers in Western countries for a partnership.
© 2023 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.